By Edward Chatterton and Ann Cheung
After two decades on the basketball court, Michael Jordan, one the greatest basketball players of all time, is currently learning the rules of defence and offence in a different game: the Chinese legal system. Qiaodan Sports Company Limited (“Qiaodan Sports”), a Chinese sportswear company, are throwing their legal dispute with him back into his court.
Michael Jordan’s fame in China is long-standing. He was first seen on Chinese television playing for the 1984 gold medal-winning US basketball team at the Los Angeles Olympics. Since then, he has become hugely famous in China, both under his English name but also under his Chinese name “乔丹” which is the Chinese equivalent of the name “Jordan”. This Chinese name is shown in pinyin, the official system which is used to transcribe Chinese characters into Latin script, as “Qiaodan”. Whilst Michael Jordan registered trademarks for “Jordan” in English in China as far back as 1993, he never applied for any registered trademarks for “乔丹” nor for the pinyin representation “Qiaodan”.